WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – A strong storm hit parts of Pennsylvania, the damage of a large number of companies in a shopping center, overturning cars and downing trees and power lines.
The storm pounded the Wilkes-Barre Township shopping plaza late Wednesday night. The area was under a tornado warning at the moment.
Township police wrote on their Facebook page that there were reports of several collapsed buildings.” They asked the drivers to avoid the area to emergency personnel access to the shopping plaza.
Photos posted on social media show shattered shops and big damage to the goods, including a Panera Bread restaurant and a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Debris lay scattered in the parking garages and on streets and sidewalks.
It was not immediately clear whether there were injuries.
Bruno Islands, a Panera employee, told the (Wilkes-Barre) Times Leader that he was washing dishes at the back of the restaurant at the time.
“My manager had us secure the doors,” he said. “We had tables and chairs flying through the windows.”
Islands said that he suffered a small scrape on his arm, while he is to get help from other people in the restaurant to safety.
The democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, took to Twitter and urged people in the path of the storm to stay safe and “give heed to the warnings and follow the instructions of local officials.”
The National Weather Service said that it would be in Wilkes-Barre Township on Thursday to survey the damage and determine if it is a tornado that landed.